Saturday, May 14, 2016

There's Potential, If They Feel Like Sticking Together

I wanted to do another one of my made-up team posts, so that's what you get on this hopefully nice for you Saturday. The theme this time was games I had on my original XBox, which worked out pretty well. I had a lot of games with characters I really liked on that system. Didn't even get close to using all of them.

The Leader: Jade (Beyond Good and Evil) - Jade's resourceful, brave, friendly, and intelligent. Not bad qualities for a leader. She's an excellent fighter, the best hand-to-hand combatant this group is going to have. She can also be a little impulsive, which can lead to her making rash decisions. She's also a bit of an idealist, which isn't going to go over well with everyone on the team. She's loyal, which can also be a double-edged sword, since it can combine with that impulsiveness and spur her into rushing recklessly to save someone. She's worked effectively as part of a larger resistance group, and with one or two people on missions, following her lead. But not as the boss of a larger group, and it's a question how she'll approach that. Her Uncle Pey'j was usually good at being the voice of reason when she started to move in a direction that was too risky, but he's going to be off the board this time around. Whether he's stayed behind to look after those orphans they cared for at their lighthouse, or he was captured again by the DomZ and Jade's trying to rescue him, is uncertain at the start.

The Rogue: Garrett (Thief: Deadly Shadows) - This has to take place sometime before the end of that game, basically because I want Garrett to still have his mechanical eye. Because it looked cool, basically. Jade's ideals about helping those in trouble aren't likely to find much purchase here, not unless she can convince Garrett there's something in it for him. Like jewels. Or a chance to piss off someone powerful he's nursing a grudge against. Not that he wants to go around actively harming innocent people, he's just not an altruist.

Most all of Garrett's games seem to involve him stealing something he shouldn't, for someone he shouldn't, then having to scramble to fix the damage he's caused. It's entirely likely he could do that again, although he might change it up and simply steal something from the wrong person to make an enemy with. And if this takes place during Deadly Shadows, then he still has the looming problem of The Hag to contend with. . .

The Muscle: JD (Phantom Dust) - That's JD in the red glasses (the other guy is the main character). JD was a member of the Espers prior to the start of the game, but was presumed lost in battle on the surface. He survived, albeit minus some key memories because he stayed on the surface too long. He reemerges to help the main character survive an ambush by two other members of the Espers, and sticks around. Eventually the truth of what happened to him comes out, and having regained his memories, he heads back into the Wastelands.

Given the nature of that world, I figure I can fudge it that JD had enough of a desire to be elsewhere he literally opened a door to elsewhere and wound up among this group. He's the most powerful of the group, and he prefers a direct approach with massive, overwhelming offensive firepower. I'm also figuring the main character gifted him a decent set of Arsenals, so we don't have to play some situation where JD has immense power potentially, but has to hoard it really carefully (think like Spawn back in the early days, with that decreasing power clock thing MacFarlane gave him). This team is going to be fighting large groups, and it's a question whether JD's style will work with that, if he wears himself out with a few Meteors, only for there to be dozens of enemies left.

That's assuming he even wants to work with the group. He's immensely powerful, but he also has understandable trust issues, and may not be eager to jump in with a bunch of strangers in a world he doesn't know. Or he may just have decided he's happier on his own.

The Lady of Mystery: Max Payne (Max Payne) - OK, this is a bit of a cheat. There's isn't much mystery to Max, he just has an awful past. His family was killed, he went deep undercover, his partner was killed, he was framed for it, and he didn't so much clear his name as kill a sufficient number of people to put certain other people with clout in his debt. But let's assume that in this case, given the astronomical number of corpses he piled up, Max couldn't get back on the police force. Or maybe he didn't want to. So skip the second game, drift more in the direction of Max as a haunted, traumatized, pill-popping wreck, without necessarily making him into a security consultant or whatever he was in the third game (I didn't play it, either).

Max is dangerous, but probably mostly to himself. He's survived enough things he shouldn't he doesn't think much of throwing himself at more danger and just popping some painkillers afterward. What the rest of the team is going to make of him is a question. Garrett isn't going to want to stick around someone so prone to loud explosions and gunfire (useful distractions though they can be). Jade is probably going to want to help, because that's what she does. JD will keep a quiet eye on him, because he's worked with a few Espers who were like that. Max won't necessarily be reckless with the others' lives, just his own. But if they aren't inclined to quietly observe that, it could end up putting them at risk.

The Guy With a Boat: Big John (Crimson Skies: The High Road to Revenge) - The main character in Crimson Skies in Nathan, your typical hotshot, square-jawed flyboy who thinks with his fists and believes himself God's gift to women. John is his partner, the more quiet, sensible one, who remembers that since they're trying to be nice air pirates, they need to find regular employment to pay for fuel and bullets, rather than just stealing them. Also, John's the one who knows how to actually fly their airship base, the Pandora (Nathan tries at one point early in the game and promptly scrapes it against a radio tower). There's no way I'm not having a guy on this team who provides an airship for a home base.

John's likely to share a fair amount of Jade's sense of right and wrong, but also agree with Garrett that they need to be thinking more profitably. Granted, Garrett wants it in his pocket, and John's thinking of keeping their ship in the air, but Garrett's smart enough to try and align his arguments with John's (though John's smart enough to see through it, but also to recognize the necessity of agreeing with him). walking the line between them, and the rest of the group's competing interests is going to be a challenge, but he's up to it. He's going to have to teach most of them to fly. Jade knows how to fly a spaceship, but propeller-driven airplanes might be a bit different, and it's probably better to keep Max away from them entirely, but the planes are a valuable potential resource, too much so not to use.

The Wild Card: Kate Walker (Syberia, Syberia 2) - I didn't really like where the second game left Kate: Alone save for a very old man on a deserted island of mammoths, her only transport a boat that's only carried back to her departure point every ten years. No one was still looking for her, what the hell was she going to do? So I'm stealing one of Chris Bird's ideas from his "I Should Write Dr. Strange" series, or adapting it, at the very least. The boat does return to its departure point every 10 years, but it doesn't just sit on the shores of Syberia all that time. At least, not every time, and certainly not this time.

Kate's spent several years being carried on this boat from one place and time to another, across dimensions or universes, however you want to define it. None has been entirely familiar, though some more than most. It's lonely, but Kate doesn't mind too much. She developed a taste for exploring, and this fit the bill nicely. She's ended up helping people solve problems large and small along the way, with her usual mixture of friendliness (until she hits her limit and gets exasperated) and her knack for finding that one seemingly innocuous thing that some weirdo needs, which they will exchange for some other thing she needs to fix or bypass some obstacle. Like I said, some of the problems are small, the equivalent of helping a little old lady across the street. Of course sometimes the little old lady turns out to be a powerful seer that certain forces wanted removed, and Kate has thwarted, or been used to thwart, their plans. There are certainly beings aware of the ability to travel between realms that know of her, and not all of them regard her fondly.

Garrett or Jade is going to be the first to encounter Kate. If it's Garrett, either the Hag used one of those lost runes only she knows of to hurl him someplace else, or Kate's ship made entirely of tusks drifted into the City's docks, and Garrett just couldn't help snooping on board, only to still be there when it drifted away again. The two of them will at least share skepticism at how often the others resolve problems with violence (I'm assuming here Garrett is less prone to hitting people over the head with a blackjack than I am when I play. I liked to make sure a guard I bypassed wasn't going to walk up behind me while I was timing everyone else's movements). And Garrett is very good at getting things, and Kate usually needs things, and is excellent at solving problems once she does. JD's going to show up when the group, whoever that is at the moment, is in the middle of a battle. He's going to attempt to help what are clearly a small group of outmatched people, but over do it a bit a destroy the ship. This is probably going to be in Big John's universe, and this ship was probably being attacked by some less scrupulous group of air pirates. Because the ship looked weird and they thought it was worth blowing up for sport. Or because someone approached them with lots of money to do it, and they didn't ask twice. At any rate, the group narrowly survives, and Big John fishes them out.

I don't expect this bunch to hold together too long. Either JD going off on his own or Max winding up dead are the two most likely occurrences. There will be at least some point where the entire team will need to storm a massive fortress. Or rather, Big John and Kate (who jumped at the chance to learn to fly a plane) are attacking from the air, JD and Max are trying to barge in through the front door, and Jade and Garrett are sneaking in to get the real prize while their foe's back is turned. Jade may end up have to hold the line against waves of enemies while Garrett goes to get what they're after, as this time around, the one thing Kate needs isn't going to be so innocuous.

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